Syracuse, N.Y. -- The script was all too familiar for Syracuse fans. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Orange offense left much to be desired. Stagnant drives, turnovers and uninspired play were the norm. Certainly they would be able to turn things around against FCS Wagner.
But after the first three drives by the Orange, they failed to yield a first down behind starter Drew Allen. A recovered fumble put Syracuse in position for their first score, a Riley Dixon 34-yard field goal.
Then Terrel Hunt came sprinting onto the field with the first team offense and everything changed. The Orange came out running behind Jerome Smith in Hunt's first possession. Then Hunt converted a pair of third downs with his arm, hitting Jarrod West on both occasions. Smith finished off the drive with his first touchdown run of the day to put Syracuse up 9-0 after a missed extra point.
Syracuse was off and running as the Orange ran away from the Wagner Seahawks 54-0. Hunt finished the game 15-18 passing for 265-yards and three touchdowns.
"I was pleased with the way we played up front," head coach Scott Shafer said. "Really across the board. A lot of good things to build off of. I was pleased with the way Terrel came in and played."
Hunt hit Prince-Tyson Gulley on a wheel route, his third read on the play. Gulley was wide open and did the rest of the word for a 30-yard touchdown. It was Hunt's first career touchdown pass.
Jerome Smith and DeVante McFarlane followed up Gulley's catch with touchdown runs of eight and three, respectively. Smith led the rushing attack that produced 236 yards with 61 of those on 14 carries, including two touchdowns.
The Syracuse defense continued to stifle the overmatched Seahawks, not giving up a first down until there was less than a minute left in the first half. Hunt finished his string of leading five straight touchdown drives in the first half with a 41-yard pass over the middle to a streaking Chris Clark.
The second half was more of the same as the Orange came out attacking once again. Terrel Hunt led a field goal and touchdown drive, hitting Jarrod West for a 65-yard score in his final possession.
West played the game with a heavy heart after learning his grandfather had passes away Saturday morning.
"Before the game I said a prayer in the endzone," West said. "I told him I would meet him in the endzone here. It was kind of cool to actually score in the endzone I told him I'd meet him."
The Orange were dominant on both sides of the ball, as should be expected against an FCS opponent. Syracuse out-gained the Seahawks 595 to 87 in total yards. The Syracuse defense forced three turnovers and held Wagner to 2-14 on third down conversions.
The win was the first for Scott Shafer as a head coach, and improves Syracuse to 1-2 on the season. They welcome Tulane to the Dome next Saturday for a 12:30pm kickoff.